Fuses are tripping, don't know why

wayneworkman2012wayneworkman2012 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
Good day,

I've been slowly building on a solar system at home - I'm just piecing it together. It's a 12v system.

I have a 3000 watt continuous pure sign wave inverter, this accepts 12 volts.
I have a DC 300A fuse between the inverter's positive pole and the battery bank's positive line.

And, I have a coffee pot that operates on 110v grid power.

I have a watt measuring device that I can plug into an AC outlet, and plug the coffee pot into - it says the coffee pot uses about 850 watts.

By my math, the coffee pot uses about 7 amps when it's using 110v, and the inverter might be pulling about 70 amps from the batteries when powering the coffee pot.

But when I try to run this coffee pot off of the inverter, the 300A fuse trips after about two minutes. The bottom of the fuse gets a little warm, and the cable from the fuse to the inverter is a little warm. The cables on the positive side are 2AWG with 5/16 wire lugs professionally fitted (I bought them premade). The line length between the fuse and inverter is 6 inches.

I don't understand why this fuse is tripping. Can someone shed some light? I'm just trying to learn this stuff before I invest in a big system.

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Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,545 ✭✭✭✭
    What is supplying the power to the inverter (ie battery type/size/#)?

    Batteries will sag in voltage as their rate of discharge increases.  As the voltage sags, the current in amps required to power the load in watts goes up.  As the amps  go up, resistance in wire and batteries increases further, and so on.  Warming of fuse and cable suggests excess current.   I'm surprised the fuse is blowing before low voltage cut-off on the inverter shuts it down though, assuming voltage sag is ehat's happening.  Do you know what the inverter low voltage battery cut-off is?
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,253 ✭✭✭✭
    First is it a fuse or a breaker? breakers trip, fuses melt.

    A 3000 watt inverter on 12 volt should be connected by at least 4/0 wire, read through your owners manual. 

    Is anything else running? Do you know the efficiency of your inverter? 12 volt 3000 watt, I would guess best would be 85% so your 850 watt load has become 1000 watt load. 1000/12 = 83 amps.

    Now how far is the inverter from the battery bank? You may have addition current running from the voltage drop (one of the reasons for the heavy wire required for low DC voltage inverters)
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • wayneworkman2012wayneworkman2012 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    @Estragon ;  The inverter's low voltage cutoff is 10.6v I believe. I have two 100ah 12v batteries wired in parallel. They are sealed lead acid, the model number on the side is UB121000.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,545 ✭✭✭✭
    Maybe the LBCO needs to be <10.6v for several minutes to trigger?  Are battery interconnects also #2 wire?  Do wires from battery +/- to inverter come off the  same battery?

    If you have a multimeter you could watch voltage sag to see how low it gets.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • wayneworkman2012wayneworkman2012 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    @Photowhit ; It's a breaker. Just the coffee pot was running. I've misplaced the manual, it'll turn up eventually - I know I held onto it.

    There is an 18" 2AWG cable coming from the positive of one battery to the fuse, and a 6" 2AWG going from the fuse to the inverter. The negative cable is two 4AWG 24" cables put together from the negative pole on the inverter to the negative pole on the battery.

    @Estragon ; The battery interconnects are advertised as 2AWG 1' cables - although the girth of the cable is less. Yes, the inverter is hooked to the same batteries poles.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,253 ✭✭✭✭
    Is the breaker rated for DC?
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,545 ✭✭✭✭
    With both +&- hooked up to the same battery, that battery will be taking more of the load, which is a big load for that size bank to begin with.  It may help to take the + off one and the - off the other.  My guess is you're pulling well over 100a (actually 300a if breaker is working properly) through wire that really should be much heavier (pretty sure 300a breaker is too big for 2ga wire).  IIRC my interconnects are 4/0, which is about thumb size thick.

    The battery is likely 100ah at C/20 rate.  It will behave like a much smaller battery being discharged at more like C/1.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • wayneworkman2012wayneworkman2012 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    edited March 25 #9
    @Photowhit ; I believe so, this is the one I have: https://www.amazon.com/KUMEED-Circuit-Breaker-Trolling-Inverter/dp/B01G3KGVYO/ref=sr_1_cc_3?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1490458834&sr=1-3-catcorr&keywords=300A+breaker+dc

    @Estragon ; so 4/0 cable and more batteries. I can add two more of the same battery type & get some cables ordered.

    Any recommendations for other breakers or did I pick out a good one? The size of wire lug that this breaker accepts is limited due to the distance between the poles & the plastic box between them.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    The one thing you will learn when you invest in a "big" system is that it is pretty foolish to think about running electric coffee makers on a small system like this. Just a prediction :)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,545 ✭✭✭✭
    French press also makes better coffee!  I did finally break down and get an electric toaster though 
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • wayneworkman2012wayneworkman2012 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    @Dave Angelini I figured as much. My goal currently is to get my refrigerator running on solar. I'm not terribly interested in ROI, but the thought was - if there is a power outtage that lasts for a couple of days and I save 300 bucks worth of food from spoiling, I'll get my ROI much faster. I feel you can't put a price on energy independence really. I was just running the coffee pot to stress things (purposely).

    @Estragon I"m going to get one of those. I do like my coffee!

    Thank you all for helping me with this.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Toaster ovens ! :) Bake bread and pizza. B)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • dennis461dennis461 Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭
    I see where feedback on Amazon reads the breaker trips too soon and gets hot.  I would replace it with a better quality breaker.
    Camden County, NJ, USA
    19 SW285 panels
    SE5000 inverter
    grid tied
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,545 ✭✭✭✭
    @wayneworkman2012

    The panel mount breakers sold by NAWS from midnite or outback have posts with lots  of room for big lugs.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,253 ✭✭✭✭
    Estragon said:
    The panel mount breakers sold by NAWS from midnite or outback have posts with lots  of room for big lugs.
    Great advice. Please note, these usually top out at 250 amps. Again you might want to check your manual. 3000watts/12volts=250amps. Breakers will not trip instantly.

    Also you should size your breaker to the wire. 2awg should be somewhere around 100 amps. but you should have 4/0 minimum for a 3000 watt inverter.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • wayneworkman2012wayneworkman2012 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    edited September 9 #17
    @Photowhit @Estragon @dennis461 @Dave Angelini I came back here to tell you all about the outcome of this.

    I've increased the battery bank size - it's 600AH now, which is just 6x 100AH 12v batteries in parallel, it's the exact same battery model I was using before, so there is a total of 6 now.

    I've replaced all of my wires between the batteries and inverter, they are all 4/0 now. I have 12" jumpers between the batteries, a 18" between the front-most positive pole and the previous 300A fuse, and a 12" between the fuse and inverter. The negative line from the inverter to the far-most negative pole is about 4' long.

    I tried the same coffee pot again this morning, which draws between 850 and 900 watts. My starting voltage before trying was 13.1. When I turned on the coffee pot, voltage sagged down to 12.5 within about a half minute and then the breaker tripped (again).

    The wires didn't get hot whatsoever, and initially the breaker didn't either - but after some moments passed after it tripping, I guess the innards of the thing were hot enough to heat up the bottom of the breaker - because it only got a little warm moments after it tripped.

    So I guess this breaker just sucks. I need a replacement that can power a 3000 watt continuous pure sign-wave inverter.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,545 ✭✭✭✭
    I think with 6 batteries in parallel you should really have a fuse on the positive wire to each battery, sized for the wire from each battery (2ga?) to the common positive connection point. The reason for this is in the event a battery fails short, you could have the combined current from the remaining 5 going through the shorted one.

    The voltage sag to 12.5 doesn't seem too bad for a ~70a load, so you're probably right that the breaker on the inverter feed should be replaced. My ~300ah 48v bank sags a volt or two making toast (~20a@48v load) before the sun hits the panels.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • wayneworkman2012wayneworkman2012 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    @Estragon I will do that, I guess I'd use a bus bar to tie each battery's positive to. I'm using 4/0 cable.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,837 admin
    Double check the fuse rating... Worst case, a 1,000 watts on 12 volt system should draw:
    • 1,000 Watts * 1/0.85 inverter eff * 1/10.5 volts battery cutoff voltage = 112 Amps worst case
    And, if this was a long term load (every day, for a length of time of more than a few minutes), I would suggest the 80% derating from NEC:
    • 112 Amps * 1/0.80 NEC derating = 140 Amp rated fuse/breaker/wiring
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 859 ✭✭✭✭
    Looks like that breaker is about 1/3 to 1/6 the price of other designs.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,815 ✭✭✭✭

    Those type breakers are Thermal.   They are cheap,   and inexpensive,   as well as compact.

    It is often said,  that thermal breakers often trip at lower,  and lower current levels on each trip.

    Personally,  would never use any thermal breaker for DC applications,   particularly  when used with an over-sized inverter on 12 V.

    Magnetic-Hydraulic breakers usually have lower internal voltage drop,   are reliable and repeatable.

    The breaker pictured on Amazon appears to be a knock-off of a Bussman/Cooper breaker,    did not find specs for your breaker on Amazon (they may be there).

    Normally you would want to use a breaker that is connected to a battery,   that has an AIC Current Rating of at least 3,000 A  --  5,000 A would be better,   IMO.

    If you need a high quality 250 A breaker (which is commonly used with 4/0 cable)  it will be a large Frame size (F-frame),   it will be large,  not inexpensive,   and should be mounted in a metal enclosure:
    https://www.solar-electric.com/mnedc250.html

    Just opinions,   Good Luck,    Vic

    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH X2@48V, 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • wayneworkman2012wayneworkman2012 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    @Vic Just purchased that DC breaker, finally.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,815 ✭✭✭✭
    OK Wayne,    good move.   It should be very reliable,  and do the job well.   Thanks for the update,   Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH X2@48V, 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • sunnymansunnyman Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭
    Wayne. I had that same circuit breaker and removed it as it was doing the same thing to me.
    First I had a 150A then I got the 300A and it still tripped well below its rated limit.
    It is all over ebay. It really sucks.
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 683 ✭✭✭✭
    If you hit that with  a full 300 amps  I bet  it would either melt or go up in smoke. High current protection is not an area where people should try to save a few bucks.  The consequences can be disastrous, or worse. 

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

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